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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    New London council chooses political correctness over protecting lives

    For Sale: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle with the slick nickname "The Cougar." The MRAP provides law enforcement with highly survivable multi-mission platforms capable of mitigating improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, explosively formed penetrators, under-body mines, and small arms fire threats.

    The beige/camo-colored vehicle's combat weight (fully loaded without add-on armor) runs between 34,000-48,000 pounds with a payload in the 4,000-pound range. This vehicle comes standard with bucket seats, tinted windows, power steering, four-wheel-drive, hyper-charged air conditioning along with multiple storage racks for your M-16 and grenade launchers. It has approximately 375 horsepower with an operational range of 370 miles and a maximum speed of 68 MPH. As a special bonus, the MRAP can successfully navigate in 40 inches of water, and is universally endorsed by military moms nationwide.

    The manufacturer suggested retail price of $660,000 has been slashed to its bare bones − it's available for the preposterous, once-in-a-lifetime, low-low sale amount of $0.00. This shocking sticker price is a result of "The Cougar" being deemed morally objectionable and visually reprehensible by the New London City Council, and since federal guidelines prohibit the city from selling it, New London is in the process of trying to gift it to another agency.

    Imagine, a city that is hemorrhaging money and perpetually broke finally caught a fiscal break − and effectively flushed it into the Thames. The MRAP was obtained from the Federal Surplus Property Program, which allows state and local governments to access surplus military equipment at no cost. The vehicle has been stripped of military hardware, and all spare parts for repairs would be provided to the city at no cost. All New London is responsible for is fuel and an occasional mechanic.

    There really should be a common-sense litmus test administered to all incoming elected officials to determine their overall ability to govern. My guess is the council would have failed. A vehicle with the ability to save lives is tossed aside because its presumed optics may be unsettling or potentially intimidating? What exactly constitutes intimidating? Firetrucks are big and red and make a loud noise; should we silence the sirens and paint the trucks a more peaceful sky blue? Jackhammers can be intimidating; street sweepers and even giant cranes are daunting and, oh the humanity, garbage trucks must cause widespread Whaling City anxiety considering the smells and the ear-melting screech when the anatomic arms scrape against metal containers. Maybe New London should cancel street cleaning, street repair, and garbage pick-up. 

    The New London City Council has taken the responsibility to stroke the fragile psyches of its residents, but at what cost?

    These vehicles are often being utilized to help evacuate law enforcement and civilians during hostile episodes and, as mentioned, this particular MRAP is built for water rescue. Armored vehicles are vital for any active-shooter or highly dangerous tactical situation. Connecticut has had several mass shootings within the last two decades: Newington Lottery Headquarters, Manchester Hartford Distributors, and, of course, Sandy Hook. If anything similar was to happen within New London city limits, will the blood of those injured or killed easily wash off the hands of council members who voted down a vehicle that could protect lives? Like a page from a Quentin Tarantino script on cue, city police issued a Friday night call to the state police for an armored vehicle to assist in a stabbing and hostage situation downtown. City police had to wait for the state's version of the MRAP to arrive.

    So, how has a city that looks the other way when graffiti is painted on police cars, when historical statues are defaced, and homeless men use the whale tail as a restroom, become so preoccupied with the perception some residents may have about one potentially life-saving armored vehicle?

    The collective mindset of the progressive left leadership has been handicapped by an explosion of anti-cop/anti-military political correctness. Democrats are the party pushing to defund, dismantle and downsize law enforcement countrywide. Any seeming willingness to increase and better equip law enforcement will be viewed negatively by the party at large.

    The New London City Council simply doesn't trust its police department. The lack of support from the council shamefully questions the cops’ judgment on how they would deploy such a tactical machine. The men and women in blue serving the city should view these actions as a direct insult to their collective character. This vehicle could have helped in school shooter or shootout situations, floods, and heavy snowstorm rescues.

    The the idea that an inanimate object presents too terrifying an appearance is juvenile.

    Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.

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